Why your business needs buyer personas

Up close and personal

Building a great business depends on how well you understand your customers and crafting personas provides the tool to achieve this all-important goal. After all, if your advertising messages don’t click with your customers, your efforts won’t produce the results you’re hoping for.

This short guide will help you understand:

  • What a customer or buyer persona is
  • Why you need them
  • How to craft one

Defining your customer persona(s) is one of the most valuable exercises for any business owner, as the pay-off is high.

5-step guide to picturing your customer

Convincing someone to work with you begins with knowing who they are and what they want and need. Here’s how to get to know your customers.

  1. Define your target buyer.
  2. Name that person’s pain points.
  3. Pinpoint their goals.
  4. Step into their shoes.
  5. Transform your marketing strategy.

Before we explain the steps involved in crafting a persona, let’s explain what a persona is.

All you need to know about customer personas

Personas Man Golfing
Learn where your customers live, how they spend their time, what frustrates them.

Put simply, a customer or buyer persona is a detailed description of a person who represents a group of likely customers.

This portrait should accurately define your client’s beliefs, desires and fears. It will help you understand their attitudes, concerns and wants so you can speak their language and meet their needs.

A persona often includes:

  • Demographic information (age, education level, marital status, etc.)
  • Profession
  • Family size
  • Income
  • Hobbies

From these details you can get a good idea of your ideal client.

Running a business without customer personas is like going on a road trip without knowing the destination.

You don’t know where you’re going or how you’re going to get there, yet you’re spending time, effort and money running your car.

The same principle applies to your business. How can you effectively market your product or service when you don’t know who you’re talking to?

1. Define your target buyer

Personas Man with Target on His Shirt
The more specific you can be about your target customer, the greater your success.
Photo: Simon Connellan on Unsplash

Do you know your target market and why they would buy or use your products or services?

Take the time to get to know your existing client base and create a picture by gathering information about their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Life stage
  • Buying behaviour
  • Interests and activities

You can gather this information through email surveys, interviews and other methods described in more detail here.

You might have more than one buyer persona. Develop a detailed description for each group.

Another great way to discover your customer personas is by checking out your competitors. Who are they targeting and what messages are they using to promote their goods or services?

2. Name that person’s pain points

The key to selling a product or service is to ensure the customer actually needs it.

Now that you know who your target is, what problem are you solving for them? How does your product or service do this better than what your competitors offer? What would motivate a client to search for your product or service?

It’s important to distinguish between features and benefits in describing your solutions. Many business owners make the mistake of focussing on the features — look at all the cool stuff it can do! — whereas customers are interested in benefits. Always answer the question “what’s in it for them?”

For example, people don’t buy Coke because it comes in a red can (feature). They buy it because it quenches their thirst (benefit).

3. Pinpoint their goals

Motivation is key in every area of life, and business is no different. Tapping into your ideal customer’s goals and aspirations is a powerful way to promote your business.

Nothing seals the deal faster than telling them you can help them reach their goals.

Sometimes your customer’s goals directly relate to your product or service, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Ultimately you want to connect with your client and there’s no better way than naming their dreams. And this requires an in-depth understanding of their world and what makes them tick.

The research tactics mentioned above — surveys, interviews, etc — can help here as well.

4. Step into their shoes

What does your customer’s world look like? Who are they, what’s important to them and how can you get their attention? The ultimate goal is to turn your data into real people with real thoughts, feelings, desires and dreams.

Personas Woman at Laptop Looking Stressed
What problem can your product or service solve for likely customers?

Try to answer these questions:

  • How do they spend their days?
  • What is their biggest annoyance?
  • Where do they spend time online?

The more you know about them, the easier it will be to create messages that hook your target audience.

5. Transform your marketing strategy

Armed with your detailed customer or buyer personas, you now have the tools to craft your marketing message for each customer segment.

You’ll need different messages for different customer personas to ensure you speak each group’s language and tap into their needs, hopes and dreams.

Likewise, you’ll want to choose how you reach out to them carefully. Is Facebook or Instagram your best bet? Or would email work better?

The main thing to remember is that you’re speaking to real people who want to connect with your brand. When your customers sense you understand their world and speak their language, sales will rise.

Summary

Crafting customer or buyer personas is an essential step in your business marketing strategy, yet one that is often overlooked. It’s tempting to rush into a promotional campaign, as you are eager to get your products and/or services out there. However, taking the time to understand your target audience will serve your business in the long run, and you’ll thank yourself later.

Image by: h heyerlein on Unsplash

Claudia Bouma is an SEO copywriter who's passionate about bringing dull, dreary websites to life with her compelling content that’s loved by clients and the Google dragon. She's been writing click-converting copy for nearly a decade, impressing her clients with her amazing way with words. She's also a widely published travel writer and knows Australia like the back of her hand. Check out her website for more copy magic.